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UK Unemployment falls to 7 year low

The UK unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.3% in the three months to September, new figures show.

It was the lowest jobless rate since the second quarter of 2008, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of people out of work fell by 103,000 between July and September to 1.75 million.

There were 31.21 million people in work, 177,000 more than for the April-to-June quarter and 419,000 more than in the same period a year earlier.

‘Strengthening trend’

ONS statistician Nick Palmer said: “These figures continue the recent strengthening trend in the labour market, with a new record high in the employment rate and the unemployment rate still at its lowest level since spring 2008.”

The ONS also said the total earnings of workers, including bonuses, in the three months to September were up 3% from a year earlier, the same rate as in the three months to August.

In September, total wages rose by 2.0%, down from 3.2% the previous month and the weakest increase since February.

Excluding bonuses, average weekly earnings growth slowed to 2.5% in the third quarter and 1.9% in September, both the weakest since the first quarter of 2015.

Chris Williamson, chief economist at research firm Markit, said: “The UK labour market continued to tighten in September, as unemployment fell more than expected and employment rose sharply. Pay growth remained surprisingly weak, however, despite further evidence of growing skill shortages, which normally leads to higher salaries.

“Pay growth remains central to policymaking, and interest rates are likely to stay on hold for as the official data show pay growth remaining subdued. Today’s data therefore support the Bank’s current projections that there will be no need to raise interest rates until 2017 due to persistent low inflation.”

‘Softer pace’

It comes after the latest Bank of England inflation report, released last week, indicated it was unlikely to raise rates soon.

The Bank voted 8-1 to keep rates on hold, and said inflation was only expected to pick up slowly, staying below 1% until the second half of 2016.

Following the latest jobs figures, Martin Beck, senior economic advisor to the EY ITEM Club said: “Looking ahead, with less room for joblessness to fall, a slower rate of decline in unemployment seems likely.

“Moreover, a recovery in productivity also points to a softer pace of job creation as firms extract more output from existing workforces. That said, the same trend will give firms the resources to pay more.”

Economically inactive

Meanwhile, the ONS said that the claimant count increased for the third month in a row, up by 3,300 in October to 795,500. That figure counts people on Jobseeker’s Allowance and those on the out-of-work element of Universal Credit.

The number of people classed as economically inactive fell by 22,000, to just under nine million in the latest period, the lowest for more than a year.

These include students, those on long-term sick leave, people looking after a relative and those who are no longer looking for work.

In the same labour market statistics report, the ONS revealed that the number of EU nationals working in the UK had increased by 324,000 in the past 12 months.


 Professional recruitment firms now have +29% more vacancies on their books compared with the same time last year, according to new survey data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo).

This increase in opportunities coincides with the latest research from the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM,) which has announced that 37% of workers are planning to leave their current jobs in 2015, a dramatic increase from 2014 (19%) and 2013 (13%).

Beneath this headline figure, the latest data from APSCo reveals that growth in the professional staffing market continues to climb across all of the trade association’s core sector groups.

Permanent vacancies across Finance & Accounting, IT, Engineering, and Media & Marketing are all up year-on-year (by +16%, +31%, +53%, and +15% respectively). This positive sentiment is in line with recent figures released by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which reported that half of British businesses are planning to expand their workforce in 2015.

The phenomenal growth of the Engineering sector over the past year can largely be attributed to government initiatives to improve infrastructure. Ongoing projects such as HS2 (High-Speed rail link) and Crossrail continue to drive an acute need for experienced talent to work in the sector.

Despite a slight slowdown in productivity last month, the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) by data firm Markit/CIPS shows growth rates remain well above historical averages in this area, and the falling price of crude oil should further help boost trade and drive opportunities in Engineering.

APSCo’s figures also reveal that median salaries across all professional sectors were up by a respectable +3%, year-on-year. This overall growth is characterised by notable fluctuations in terms of sector, with Engineering, for example, recording an uplift of +8%. However both the Media & Marketing and Sales arenas have both stalled somewhat, reporting slight decreases year-on-year (by -0.3% and -1.9% respectively).

Despite this positivity, however, APSCo warns that it remains to be seen what impact the May 2015 General Election will have on the professional recruitment market. The latest Deloitte CFO Survey revealed that the General Election is a major concern for organisations. When asked to rate the level of risk it posed on a scale of 0 to 100, CFOs attached a 63 rating to the General Election; significantly higher than the 56 attached to deflation of the Euro or the 39 points awarded to further cuts in spending.

This may be because many analysts have predicted that, given the surge in support for smaller parties such as the UK Independence Party (UKIP), the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Greens, a hung parliament is a real possibility. For this reason, companies are likely to remain cautious when it comes to hiring in early 2015, as CFOs resist investing in talent until the political landscape is less volatile.

Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo commented: “As we enter 2015, it is clear that the upsurge in vacancies we have recorded throughout the past twelve months is a real indicator of sustained economic stability. Despite this optimism, we predict that uncertainty in the run up to this year’s general election, and any associated impact on policy, may have an adverse effect on vacancy levels in early 2015, as organisations put the brakes on hiring to wait for greater stability. Consequently, we will not be surprised if vacancy numbers dip in quarters one and two, however we expect these to recover in a flurry of hiring activity in the early summer months.”

“The fact that Deloitte has found that CFOs believe business investment in the UK will rise by 9% this year – higher than other major industrialised nations – indicates real optimism in the future of the UK economy. This positivity is mirrored in the ambition of the many UK professionals who are planning on switching roles in the coming year,” she added.

John Nurthen, Executive Director, Global Research for Staffing Industry Analysts, which compiles the report for APSCo, commented: “It’s reassuring that the good growth in permanent vacancies which began in the second half of 2013 has followed through right to the end of 2014. And it is unfortunate that the early part of 2015 will be shrouded in uncertainty given upcoming elections.”

“What potentially makes this electoral uncertainty even more damaging this time around is that a win for the Conservatives (either by a majority or with coalition partners) means that there will be an In-Out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU by the end of 2017. So, even with the election concluded, we might be facing a two year hiatus when business will not know whether the UK will remain a member of the European Union or not. For many employers, business planning for 2016 and 2017 may become a somewhat myopic affair,” he concluded.



Experiencing Failure Doesn’t Mean Being a Failure!






I believe we all know how horrible the feeling that accompanies “Oh no, what have I done?” really is, as it takes root deep inside ourselves. Just trying to reach the point of mustering enough courage to admit making a mistake of some kind can cause most of us to become physically sick. “How could I have possibly made that mistake?” or “How could I have overlooked something so obvious?” Then we fall head-first into a series of self-defeating thoughts“I am so stupid! I will never get over this.” The spiral down can be deadly.No matter who you are or where you have been, we all know these feelings. I have been there and I am now here to share with you that it’s not the feelings nor the mistake that should get the forever focus. The most important thing is how we deal with them.

Sadly, every area of our society seems to focus on targeting those who make mistakes, complete with reasons why we should feel guilty for making them. Efforts are even made to try and sell us on the belief that we should avoid making mistakes at any cost lest we suffer humiliation. That pressure, real or perceived, leads us to believe that if we make an error it is the same as admitting failure. Making the mistake gives rise to feelings and beliefs that we are a mistake. It’s a cycle that leads to being mentally and emotionally paralyzed. The stress and fear that we assume would direct us to steering clear of making a mistake again merely pushes us the other way and we make the same mistake over and over again.

That can’t be the way life is supposed to be. If we look at making mistakes differently, we can begin to realize that to be very much alive and part of our world is to make and learn from mistakes. They help us to explore and learn that everything and everyone around us changes, including us. Very few things in life are constant and even fewer are predictable. How can anyone expect to get everything right, each and every time, everywhere…during the “forever” span of time one is here in this life?

No one is denying the reality that some mistakes can have very serious consequences. But my focus here is more on how important it is to recognize that making some mistakes can be a crucial step in learning, growing, and improving ourselves. They can also help us understand the importance of knowing that there are times throughout our lives when trying to do it all alone is that first mistake that leads to others. Mistakes can help us realize the importance of teamwork, listening to other viewpoints, and learning from the experiences of others.

Learning from our mistakes requires that we garner the confidence to admit to ourselves and others (if/when needed) that a mistake has been made. From that point, we must seek the courage to move forward and determine if it is possible to minimize or even change the outcome or impact of the mistake.Realistically, we know that it might not be possible to do that in every situation.However, it is the process and the effort in that process that allows us to move forward.

The opposite would be to avoid taking ownership for your mistakes and that can ruin your personal and professional reputation as well as your credibility among family, friends, and co-workers. Small, simple mistakes—those we all make at some point in our lifetime—can be easily fixed once identified and they are generally accepted by others. However, repeated mistakes can have much weightier consequences. Making the same mistake over and over serves to show that we are not learning sufficiently from the past mistakes in ways that lead us to make needed changes.


Once you make a mistake…what do you do?

  • Once you make a mistake, don’t let your first response be the infamous “freaking out.” Instead, stop and remind yourself that you will be okay in and will get through this. Be thankful that you found the error and then take whatever action is needed to alert others who need to be aware of it. I know it is difficult, but there is more respect in owning up to a mistake and taking the lead to correct it than in denying it or hiding it.
  • Be positive for positive thinking creates positive results.
  • Making a mistake can be painful when it happens. However, you are gaining valuable experience that can lead you to being more cautious in future situations. There is also a greater motivation for creating your own success.
  • When facing the reality of a mistake, perhaps it is time to reevaluate what happened more closely so that new opportunities can present themselves and the situation can be resolved more effectively.
  • Remember that it takes failure to create success.
  • Mistakes can either be stepping stones to growth and progress in your life or stumbling stones that trip you and beat you into feeling like a failure. Even when life takes unexpected turns or you feel like a situation is beyond your control, you have a voice and a choice in your destiny. Accepting mistakes as stepping stones will lead you toward greater success. Remember, though, that failures or successes—never stop believing in yourself. 

    Changing how you perceive mistakes and what they mean in your life can provide you a totally new outlook. Sometimes making mistakes may humble our ego. However, that allows us to realize that we are not perfect, there is room for growth, and the lessons learned are invaluable.

    We are fallible. We need to be forgiven by others and we must be able to forgive others, who are as we are, fallible. Together, we can help each other let go of our fears, reach out to really experience the life journey, and truly live without regrets. History does not have to repeat itself. Mistakes ignored or taken for granted lead down the path of them being made again. Mistakes acknowledged and dealt with constructively can pave the way for a legacy that can help others steer clear of the jagged rocks on the shorelines of life.

    You see my friends…mistakes allow us to show our true resiliency as we move through the hard times and experience what it means to be wounded. More importantly, it shows that you care deeply and that you are courageous enough to look beyond where you are to all the possibilities—those that come your way, those that come from others, and those you will create!

    When you failed, you were strong enough to remain standing with your dignity intact to show others that even though life is unpredictable and mistakes are inevitable, experiencing a failure does not mean that you are failure. You are my hero and I am so proud to know so many of you who have been and are willing to step out and try something new. I truly commend your desire to have a better life, one that is full of exploration, adventure, and opportunities to think outside the box. Such a life can most certainly motivate others and leave a strong legacy for future generations. I know first-hand the pain and self-imprisonment that has come from not wanting to let go of my own past mistakes.

UK jobless rate falls to lowest level since 2008

The unemployment rate fell to 6.2% over the three months to the end of July, its lowest level since 2008, official figures show.

The number of jobless people fell by 146,000 to 2.02 million over the quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.

Those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in August fell below one million for the first time in six years.

But average weekly earnings still lagged way behind inflation.

Interest rates

Excluding bonuses, average earnings in the May to July period rose by 0.7% from a year earlier; including bonuses, they rose by 0.6%.

The current rate of inflation is 1.5%.

Last month, the Bank of England halved its forecast for average wage growth in 2014 to 1.25%, leading some commentators to believe it is under little pressure to raise interest rates any time soon.

According to the Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) minutes, the nine-member committee voted 7-2 to hold interest rates at their historic low of 0.5%.

It is the second month in a row that two members have voted to raise interest rates, which have been unchanged since March 2009.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in August fell by 37,200 to 966,500, the ONS said.

Over the year the number of unemployed had fallen by 468,000 – the largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988.

And the number of jobless 16-to-24 year olds fell by 106,000 to 747,000 over the quarter and by 213,000 over the year.

“These were the largest quarterly and annual falls in youth unemployment since comparable records began in 1992,” the ONS said.

But although the number of people in employment rose by 74,000 to 30.61 million over the period, this was the smallest quarterly increase since the April to June quarter in 2013.

‘Modest’ earnings growth

Responding to the figures, Chancellor George Osborne tweeted: “Today’s employment stats mark another step towards full employment. But still much more to do.”

But Labour’s shadow employment minister Stephen Timms said: “Today’s fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but the new figures have shown working people are seeing their pay falling far behind the cost of living.

“Pay excluding bonuses today is the lowest on record. Under this government wages after inflation have already fallen by over £1,600 a year since 2010 and by next year working people will have seen the biggest fall in wages of any Parliament since 1874.”

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: “The further marked fall in unemployment points to a still rapidly tightening labour market, thereby seemingly boosting the case for an interest rate hike sooner rather than later by the Bank of England.

“But only a modest increase in earnings growth from very low levels suggests that there is still an appreciable amount of labour market slack with little pressure on inflation coming from pay.”


The unemployment figures are based on the Labour Force Survey, in which the ONS speaks to 60,000 households once a quarter, making it the country’s biggest household survey.

The ONS is 95% confident that the figure of 2.02 million unemployed is within 77,000 of being accurate either way.

Why are 95% of cover letters not even close?

MAN HEAD IN LAPTOPAt Digital Mined we frequently use freelance platforms like oDesk and Elance, and therefore we are used to reading through hundreds of applications from freelancers. Despite all that experience, we still get surprised when, at times, really good freelancers lose out on jobs because of the way they apply.

We have written a lot about what can be done with this particular problem (just read the brief carefully and reply to everything in it), however this time we will try to look into why it happens. To explain possible reasons, we will try to give a few practical examples based on things we have experienced.

Here are a few possible reasons why cover letters are not even close;

  1. Bad English. It is possible a lot of freelancers know they have limited skills in English, and therefore choose to write, and send, generic cover letters hoping that 1 in 10, or 1 in a 100, will lead to work. On oDesk this can be supported by the fact that often about 10% of applications get withdrawn by the applicant 1-3 days after being posted. The freelancer know they have a limit of how many application they can have at any given time, and therefore withdraw if they do not get a speedy reply.
  2. Lacking skills. oDesk has recently introduced the possibility of asking targeted questions to each applicant, as part of the application process. Some freelancers might be frustrated by that, however as a client we love it! It allows us to ask difficult targeted questions, which immediately unmasks if the freelancer is qualified, and can save us hours.
  3. Low ethical standard. There are bad clients out there who treat freelancers badly, however there are also freelancers who care more about making money than pleasing the clients needs. As a client, I see it as downright disrespectful if I politely ask the freelancer in the brief to answer a particular question, and there is no hint of a reply to it in the response to the brief.
  4. Not understanding the process. Some freelancers blame clients, or their platform of choice, if they do not get work. We would suggest those freelancers get an external evaluation of their profile using Freelyzer, evaluate the market value of their work, and how they apply. Most clients deal with 30-150 applications for every job post they put in. When we hire, usually no more than 2 minutes is spent per application.
  5. Preferring to chat on Skype. A lot of freelancers know that they will have a higher chance of landing the job, if they have the opportunity of interacting with their clients on Skype. Clients however, do not want to spend time chatting with someone, unless they are sure there is a good chance of the candidate being a good fit for their job, before they chat. We have interviewed candidates where just the first question was enough to unveil the lacking fit.
  6. Thinking it is all about them. A lot of cover letters almost give the impression of being an ad, when they really should be more like replies to a conversation. Clients are thinking; “Did they get the brief?”, “Did they understand what I want?”, “Are they able to come up with a thoughtful reply that show they are qualified?”. Some of the best replies we have received are short, but clearly show that the applicant has read, understood and replied with a brain.
  7. Quality of clients. It is very possible that clients get a taste of their own medicine, when they price the work they want done so low that the applicants who would give good replies simply will not apply. Often it can be worth asking yourself, as a client, what you have done to deserve your team. Both in good times, and in bad. Having a clear defined process, and being willing to pay above market price, can ensure you get the best people.

If you are a freelancer that think most of the points above was hard medicine, please take it with love. Yesterday I flickered through 60 applications for a position and shortlisted 3. That is 5%. There is nothing I want more than to increase that percentage so freelancers make my job hard.


The Top 12 Reasons Why Slow Hiring Severely Damages Recruiting and Business Results

A candidate from a well-known benchmark firm dropped out of our search for a General Manager position because the hiring manager took a week to respond to his interest. He said…

It’s not like I need their job. If it takes them a week to respond to a resume like mine for a job of this importance, they’re not the kind of company I want to work for. I move fast, and I can already see that my style wouldn’t fit their culture. –Wind River Associates

As a corporate recruiting leader, know that in a highly competitive college marketplace, there may be nothing that damages corporate recruiting results more than slow hiring.

Many firms now go the first step and track some variation of the “time-to-fill” metric. But despite that metric, not only are firms still almost universally guilty of painfully slow hiring, but to compound the problem, few recruiting leaders truly understand the many negative business and recruiting impacts that result from slow hiring. I estimate that the impact at most corporations exceeds tens of millions of dollars each year. And the dollar loss from this factor may be as much as 10 times higher than losses resulting from low recruiting efficiency related to the more popular “cost-per-hire” metric.

It’s not enough to be conscious and aware of slow hiring. Identify and then quantify in dollars each of the negative impacts of slow hiring, so that everyone from the CEO on down will support the streamlining of the process. After several decades of work on “speed hiring,” I have put together an extensive list of the negative consequences associated with taking too long to hire. The top 12 most damaging factors are listed below.

The Top 12 Reasons Why “Slow Hiring” Damages Recruiting and Your Business Results

The negative impacts resulting from slow hiring are numerous. The most damaging ones are listed here in descending order of their negative impact.

  1. You will lose most of the candidates who are in high demand during the late stages of your recruitment process – when currently employed top performers decide to enter the job market, they are likely to be quickly inundated with recruiting requests and offers, which means that often they will only be on the job market for a matter of days. So if you/your firm drag out the hiring process over time, the most sought-after prospects (i.e. in-high-demand prospects) will have many opportunities to make quick offer acceptance decisions while you are still only midway through your hiring process. Your top candidates assuredly will receive alternative offers and will be forced to make a decision as to whether to accept “a current offer” that will soon expire, rather than to wait for “a possible future offer” from your firm. So even if you capture them as an applicant, the odds of them still being available when you reach the late stages of an extended recruiting process is almost zero (with the one exception if you happen to have a powerhouse employment brand like Google). My research indicates that the top 10 percent of candidates are often gone from the marketplace within 10 days. I also estimate the recruiting loss from missing a single game-changer, purple squirrel, or innovator recruit to be over $1 million each. The lesson to be learned is: that speed of hire is most important when you are competing against other firms for currently employed “in-high-demand” top talent. You simply must hire fast, because if you don’t, the competition will take this top talent off the market before you have the time to make a hiring decision. For example if Tiger Woods decided to leave his golf team, he would be in such demand that he might be in and then out of the job market in as little as a few hours, so a 30-day hiring process would have no chance of success..
  2. Unfortunately slow hiring does not improve the quality of those who you hire – you might assume that taking more time to make a hiring decision would result in better hires, simply because you had more time to gather information, to gather feedback, and to mull over the finalists. Unfortunately slow hiring has the opposite effect. The longer you take, the lower the quality (i.e. the “on-the-job performance” of new hires) will be. The primary reason for this drop off, as mentioned in the first section, is that with an extended hiring process, all of the top candidates will likely drop out, leaving only weak ones to choose from. Most managers don’t realize that the secondary impact of having all of the top candidates drop out is that the remaining candidate pool (that you will eventually hire someone from) may now only contain average and weak candidates. As a result, the extra time for decision-making is negated by the fact that you only have average candidates to gather that information on. Unless you measure how quickly the quality of the candidate pool drops over time, you probably won’t realize how damaging delayed hiring can be. You can easily find out how long it takes before the top candidates drop out by first identifying the top 10 percent of your applicants and then periodically contacting each of them to see how many days pass before they move on (it is usually between 10 and 20 days). The lesson to be learned isthat slow hiring may actually doom your firm to an extended period where you only hire average or slightly above-average candidates. Recruiters may offer the excuse that the weak applicant pool that they presented is a result of the highly competitive marketplace, but in many cases the actual reason may be a slow hiring process that only exists at your firm.
  3. You will lose significant revenue and productivity because vacant positions are open for too many days – a stretched-out hiring processes means that vacant positions go unfilled for months. Although some mistakenly think that having position vacancies saves salary dollars, smart leaders instead calculate the damage caused by what are called excessive “vacant position days.” For example, the economic damage caused by having a revenue-generating position vacant longer than necessary may be as much as $5,000 per day simply because a vacant seat in a sales job or revenue collection job can’t create or capture revenue. Vacancies in mission-critical jobs may mean that some critical work will actually stop during these unnecessary position vacancy days. For example, if an airline has insufficient pilots for each of its planes, it would lose revenue from each of those canceled flights. The pharmaceutical firm Merck found that having vacant positions in its R&D function had a direct measurable impact on the time it takes to develop new products for the market. Shifting to management, team lead, and other key jobs, having no one in the job for an extended period of time will mean that productivity and output will suffer. In jobs where quality matters, error rates will increase and the quality of the output may also suffer because you have temps or other employees filling in as best they can while the position is vacant. The lesson to be learned is: that each unnecessary position vacancy day has a significant dollar impact on productivity, innovation, and revenue generation. And because the Boston Consulting Group proved that having great recruiting has the highest impact of all talent functions on revenue and profit, it only makes sense that “slow hiring” (which is obviously not great hiring) will dramatically reduce both of those impacts by a measurable amount.
  4. You’ll have to pay new hires more in salary because they will be bid on – when currently employed top talent enters the job market after working at the same firm several years, it is unlikely that they will know their real value right way. So if you are the first firm to approach and hire them before other firms have a chance to make a bid, in most cases they will accept your initial salary offer with little or no haggling. However, if you have an extended hiring process, there will be ample time for other firms to recruit these same top candidates. And once multiple firms start fighting over and literally bidding on one of your candidates, their salary demands will invariably increase once they realize their true market value. The lesson to be learned is: that if you make fast decisions before there is any competition for an individual, you may be able to pay as much 25 percent less than you will have to pay after several firms have praised and bid on them.
  5. Your image of being slow decision-makers will cause you to lose many top prospects – we already learned that delays will cause you to lose many top prospects and applicants, but you should also be aware that the appearance of slow decision-making will also damage your hiring results. This is because many top prospects and candidates view the long time it takes a firm to reach a hiring decision as emblematic of your corporate culture and what business decision-making is actually like at your firm. Because by definition, most top talent are fast and accurate decision-makers, it is highly likely that they will view slow hiring decisions as an indicator that once on the job, business decisions will be made just as slowly. A similar negative recruiting business connection may also be made by candidates if they see a lack of innovation in the recruiting process. The lesson to be learned isthat many candidates view their first and only interaction with the firm (i.e. the recruiting process) as an indicator of what it’s like to work there. So if commenters on rate your recruiting process as slow, expect it to have a negative impact on recruiting.
  6. Slow hiring will reduce applications because it will damage your external employer brand image and the candidate experience – one of the primary contributors to effective hiring is having a great external employer brand image. I’ve already highlighted how slow hiring will cause you to lose many top candidates, but you should also realize that slow hiring will also hurt your brand image, which in turn will reduce the number and quality of the applications that you receive. Unfortunately, slow hiring will hurt your brand image because having a slow hiring process will be quickly and frequently revealed on social media. For example, entries not only list problems with the hiring process, but they almost always reveal how long it takes in days to complete the hiring process. It simply doesn’t help your employer brand when prospects find conflicting information, where you are praised for many talent factors but criticized for slow hiring. A long, drawn-out hiring process will also negatively impact your candidate experience, which is another topic that gets a lot of attention on social media and in job-seeker-related blogs. With these two factors combined, you must expect that slow hiring will damage your image, and as a result, you will get fewer high-quality applications and almost none from individuals who need to make a job switch decision quickly. The lesson to be learned isin a world full of social media, that you can’t expect to keep “being painfully slow” hiring a secret from potential applicants.
  7. Slow decisions will cause you to lose a high percentage of “head-to-head” talent battles for top candidates — one of the goals of most functions (and recruiting is no exception) is to provide their firm with a competitive advantage. In recruiting, having a competitive edge allows your firm to win a disproportionately high number of head-to-head talent battles with your top talent competitors. The inability to make fast hiring decisions on highly sought after “decisive candidates” who know what they want will cause them to choose the talent competitor that meets their needs first. The cost of losing a head-to-head battle is extremely high. This is because when you lose top-performing talent directly to a quick-acting competitor, its productivity and innovation rates will rise immediately, while at the same time, the productivity and innovation at your firm (which still has a vacant position) will remain low. The lesson to be learned is: that speed hiring gives your firm a competitive edge in head-to-head talent competition. And by acting quickly, not only will you capture a higher percentage of top performers, but you will simultaneously keep that top talent away from your competitors.
  8. Slow hiring dramatically reduces hiring manager and recruiter excitement – another major factor in great hiring is a high level of hiring manager involvement and excitement. Many in recruiting complain about the apathy of hiring managers; however, one of the primary reasons that causes managers to give a low priority to recruiting is the weak effort-reward connection. Slow hiring processes mean that managers have to put in a lot of time and effort upfront but they don’t received their “reward” and the impact of their work until months later (when someone actually starts). Hiring managers should also be made aware that in many firms, should there be a hiring freeze, layoffs, or budget cuts, a protracted hiring process may mean that they actually lose their vacant position permanently. The lesson to be learned isthat fast hiring reduces that period of time until new hires start, so both impatient managers and recruiters are more likely to be excited because they see and understand the direct connection between a short recruiting period and a new hire beginning the job. And based on what recruiters tell me, they hate slow and bureaucratic hiring processes, so if you want to hire and retain great recruiters, speed up the process dramatically.
  9. Your customers and employees will also feel the negative impacts of slow hiring – you can’t be myopic when it comes to the impact of slow hiring. Recruiting leaders must understand that when a position is vacant for a long period of time, many will suffer. Customers will certainly be able to notice that extended vacancies in customer service positions will result in degraded and slower service, because there is literally no one in the chair or that less experienced and capable temps will have to be used as fill-ins. Your employees will also notice because they will be asked to do double duty and/or overtime, which will negatively impact their morale and retention rates. Employees who came from other faster-hiring firms will get frustrated because they know that these extended vacancies aren’t necessary. The lesson to be learned is: that recruiting leaders must fully understand and then calculate in dollars the broad negative business impacts that excessive position vacancies can have on both customers and employees.
  10. If you are targeting “passive prospects,” realize that slow hiring may result instead in the hiring of actives – based on the premise that most desirable top performers are currently employed and well treated, many recruiting functions have begun to target the so-called “passive prospects” (this is a misnomer because these individuals cannot accurately be described as passive). The so-called passives may take a long time to decide to leave their current job, but hiring managers must realize that once they indicate even a potential interest in another job (for example merely updating their LinkedIn profile) they will be pounced on immediately by recruiters and employees seeking to make a top-quality referral. The net result of this high interest is that passive prospects will not be in the job market for very long. To make matters even worse, failing to make a hiring decision quickly will allow their current boss time to make a compelling counteroffer to stay. The net result is that extended hiring processes simply have a low probability of capturing these highly desirable passive prospects. In fact, a slow hiring process may give your firm a zero chance of hiring anyone who becomes “suddenly available” and who is in the job market for less than three weeks. The key lesson to be learned is: that because slow recruiting processes are not capable of hiring these targeted passives, firms with painfully slow hiring processes generally end up with literally 100 percent of their hires coming from the active job seeker pool. When hiring these active job seekers, speed is less essential (because they have fewer choices), but even then, slow hiring decisions means that you will likely lose the best from among these active job seekers.
  11. An extended hiring processes can significantly raise “hidden” hiring costs – if your lengthy hiring process is a result of requiring an excessive number of interviews (more than four), the cost of hiring will go up because much more management, recruiter, and employee time will be spent interviewing. These added costs are often “hidden” because they are not included in the standard cost-per-hire calculation. If your process also unnecessarily requires more people to sit in on each interview, if it requires more than the top three candidates to go through interviews, or if each interview has a scheduled time that is longer than necessary, your hidden costs will go up as more employee time is devoted to hiring, rather than their normal duties. Hiring processes are unnecessarily longer and thus more costly for variety of additional reasons. Typically hiring processes are extended because they require that you run job postings longer, they require you to give internal candidates first choice, they require excessive requisition approvals or they include too many administrative steps. The lesson to be learned is: unnecessary elements in an extended hiring process can directly increase hidden costs by requiring recruiters, hiring managers, and employees to spend unnecessary and unproductive time on low-value aspects of recruiting.
  12. Using standard speed-of-hire metrics can severely mask slow hiring problems – most firms are satisfied with simply measuring the average number of days it takes to make a hiring decision. Unfortunately, using a typical time to fill or time-to-start metric alone can hide the actual damage caused by slow hiring. First of all, measuring and reporting the average time is misleading because it may mask the fact that although your average hire time is good, the hiring time for in high-demand top prospects and for revenue-generating and mission-critical jobs may actually be miserable. Executives and recruiting leaders should realize that the primary reason that you reduce hiring time is specifically because you are seeking higher-quality hires. So, if you don’t effectively demonstrate the direct connection between these two factors (i.e. how each day of reduced hiring time increases the quality of hire by__ percent), then you are making a huge mistake. Measuring hiring speed and hiring quality can also reveal the few unique cases where fast hiring actually increases hiring mistakes. And the final common metric omission is not working with the CFO’s office to quantify the lost dollars that it costs the corporation for each day that the hiring process is longer than necessary. For large corporations and especially firms in fast-moving industries like high-tech and the mobile phone, I estimate that the impact for each unnecessary day added to a hiring process can easily reach $1 million. The lesson to be learned isthat it is critical that everyone understands that you must have speed metrics that demonstrate that in recruiting “Speed doesn’t kill new hire quality … but slow does!”

Final Thoughts

You certainly won’t impress senior executives with a slow and cumbersome hiring process that routinely misses top talent. On the surface, the need for hiring fast might seem like an easy concept to understand, but in reality, it’s quite a complex issue.

If you don’t yet understand the impact of slow hiring, perhaps an analogy will help. The high school prom makes an excellent analogy. It is common for most students to ask the most desirable prospects to be their prom date within a week or two of the prom announcement. But what if you decided instead to wait for 47 days to ask (the average time it takes a corporation to make a hiring decision) a desirable prospect for a date? What would the probability be that after 47 days your top three choices would still be available to say yes to your late offer?

Recruiting is a lot like acquiring a prom date. If you wait 47 days to make a selection decision, you must realize how relatively “ugly” your new hire is likely to be!

*Speed hire tools — Obviously fast decision-making could inadvertently lead to bad decisions, so in recruiting it’s important to have the right strategies and tools for “speed hiring.” Although I haven’t discussed them here, if you are interested in knowing more about the most effective speed hiring approaches, I encourage you to come to my “speed hiring” session at the exciting ERE conference being held later this week in San Diego. I promise you that it will be worth the trip. And after the session, I would be glad to sit down and talk more in depth about your slow hiring issues.

The Differences Between Successful People and Unsuccessful People

People Success

A few weeks ago I received a postcard in the mail from the CEO of Petra Coach, the creator of Align Software and a fellow member of Entrepreneurs Organization. I’ve never met him, but Andy Bailey and his postcard that I hung up on my wall have already had a profound effect on me, reinforcing values I believe in and reminding me on a daily basis of the attitudes and habits that I know I need to embrace in order to become successful.

Below are the 16 differences between successful people and unsuccessful people that Andy Bailey and the postcard claim, followed by a picture of the postcard itself:

1. Embrace change vs. Fear change

Embracing change is one of the hardest things a person can do. With the world moving so fast and constantly changing, and technology accelerating faster than ever, we need to embrace what’s coming and adapt, rather than fear it, deny it or hide from it.

2. Want others to succeed vs. Secretly hope others fail

When you’re in an organization with a group of people, in order to be successful, you all have to be successful. We need to want to see our co-workers succeed and grow. If you wish for their demise, why even work with them at all?

3. Exude joy vs. Exude anger

In business and in life, it’s always better to be happy and exude that joy to others. It becomes contagious and encourages other to exude their joy as well. When people are happier they tend to be more focused and successful. If a person exudes anger, it puts everyone around them in a horrible, unmotivated mood and little success comes from it.

4. Accept responsibly for your failures vs. Blame others for your failures

Where there are ups, there are most always downs. Being a leader and successful businessperson means always having to accept responsibility for your failures. Blaming others solves nothing; it just puts other people down and absolutely no good comes from it.

5. Talk about ideas vs. Talk about people

What did we all learn in high school? Gossip gets you nowhere. Much of the time it’s false and most of the time it’s negative. Instead of gossiping about people, successful people talk about ideas. Sharing ideas with others will only make them better.

6. Share data & info vs. Hoard data & info

As we all learned in kindergarten, sharing is caring. In social media, in business and in life, sharing is important to be successful. When you share you info and data with others, you can get others involved in what you are doing to achieve success. Hoarding data and info is selfish and short-sighted.

7. Give people all the credit for their victories vs. Take all the credit from others

Teamwork is a key to success. When working with others, don’t take credit from their ideas. Letting others have their own victories and moments to shine motivates them and in the long term, the better they perform, the better you’ll look anyway.

8. Set goals and life plans vs. Do not set goals

You can’t possibly be successful without knowing where you’re going in life. A life vision board, 10 year plan, 3 year forecast, annual strategic plan, and daily goal lists are are useful tools of the mega-successful people in your life. Get your vision and goals down on paper!

9. Keep a journal vs. Say you keep a journal but don’t

Keeping a journal is a great way to jot down quick ideas or thoughts that come to mind that are not worth forgetting. Writing them down can lead to something even greater. You can even use mobile apps or your Notes function in your phone. But don’t fool yourself by saying you keep a journal and not following through.

10. Read every day vs. Watch TV every day

Reading every day educates you on new subjects. Whether you are reading a blog, your favorite magazine or a good book, you can learn and become more knowledgeable as you read. Watching television, on the other hand, may be good entertainment or an escape, but you’ll rarely get anything out of TV to help you become more successful.

11. Operate from a transformational perspective vs. Operate from a transactional perspective

Transformational leaders go above and beyond to reach success on another level. They focus on team building, motivation and collaboration across organizations. They’re always looking ahead to see how they can transform themselves and others, instead of looking to just make a sale or generate more revenue or get something out of the way.

12. Continuously learn vs. Fly by the seat of your pants

Continuously learning and improving is the only way to grow. You can be a step above your competition and become more flexible because you know more. If you just fly by the seat of your pants, you could be passing up opportunities that prevent you from learning (and growing!)

13. Compliment others vs. Criticize others

Complimenting someone is always a great way to show someone you care. A compliment gives a natural boost of energy to someone, and is an act of kindness that makes you feel better as well. Criticizing produces negativity and leads to nothing good.

14. Forgive others vs. Hold a grudge

Everybody makes mistakes; it’s human. The only way to get past the mistake is to forgive and move on. Dwelling on anger only makes things worse – for you.

15. Keep a “To-Be” list vs. Don’t know what you want to be

A “To-Be” list is a great way to strategize for the future. I want to be an elected official one day. I want to be a TED speaker. I want to be the CEO of a public company. I want to be a great father and husband. Unsuccessful people have no idea what they want to be. If you don’t know what you want to be, how can you achieve success? What do you want to be?

16. Have Gratitude vs Don’t appreciate others and the world around you.

Moments of gratitude, each and every one, transform my life each day- and unquestionably have made me more successful and more happy. The people who you are grateful for are often the ones who have a huge part in your success. Be sure to thank everyone you come in contact with and walk with a spirit of gratitude and appreciation and even wonder, about the world around you. Gratitude is the ultimate key to being successful in business and in life.

Successful vs Un

Eight rules for success at work

We desire success at work and a satiating career. But what does it take to get there? In this article, I have jotted down traits that I have always adhered to. These work for me. These generic guidelines transcend industries and will help you too. If widely followed, they will also make the work environment a positive place for everyone.

success of work

  1. Be open-minded: All workplaces are not the same. So, it is best not to bring in rigid notions about your job, your team or your company. Instead, being open-minded allows you to imbibe the company culture and to successfully navigate through its dynamics. Observe, understand and quickly calibrate yourself to your new work environment.
  2. Learn: Boredom at a job typically sets in when you stop learning. Consistently strive to learn new skills and to apply them more efficiently. As Tennyson says, work “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.” This will keep you enthused and help you deliver more value for your organization.
  3. Enjoy: Work with a happy spirit. When you relish your work, your passion for what you do will show. Your happy and amicable demeanor will also influence positivity in the larger organization. On the other hand, if you don’t appreciate your job, step back and re-evaluate your fit/needs and pursue your heart.
  4. Communicate: Listen well and respond well. It is important to know your audience so you can customize your verbal or written communication. Think ahead, anticipate follow-up questions and be ready. Ensure that your message avoids ambiguities and is not warped or lost in translation. Share information, provide timely updates and call out expectations. Don’t be afraid. Communicate.
  5. Set the right expectation: Right from day one, you have to draw the line on what you want to do, are willing to do, and can do. Of course, this needs to be balanced against situations that need you to step up. If you have been stretching yourself at work without indicating so to your managers, you will be setting yourself up for that level of productivity all the time. This will ultimately lead to a bad work experience.
  6. Be diligent: Good work ethics are a must for success. You cannot expect your workplace to reward you if your commitment to the organization is not evident. The relationship between the employee and the company is built on mutual commitment, and diligence is integral to this dynamic. These four lines sum it all- “The heights by great men reached and kept
    Were not attained by sudden flight,
    But they, while their companions slept,
    Were toiling upward in the night.”
  7. Be yourself: You shine best when you are your natural self. Attempting to be someone you are not will result in unhappiness and also stunt success. When you have an artificial persona at work, you will also be outshone by others who can naturally perform similar responsibilities as their flair and interest levels will be much higher than yours.
  8. Be a good human: This one is closest to my heart. Your work place, much like your life outside of it, is all about people & relationships. Be it your bosses, peers, other teams, reports or customers, please display empathy. Put yourself in their shoes and appreciate the alternate perspective. In some situations, empathy and kindness are branded as weaknesses. On the contrary, they generate trust and foster a great working environment.

The truth is that there is no universal framework for success at work. It depends on individual capabilities and company DNA among other things. It also rests on whether you love what you do. However, you ill maximize the chances of your success by following a set of rules. The tenets I have articulated here resonate with me. Hope they provide you a basis for realizing your career goals too.

I would love to hear from you on other metrics you use. Please also comment if you disagree with this framework. Perhaps that will help me finesse my approach further.

Look after your employees and prosper!

Did you know that around 131 million working days are lost through sickness absence in the UK every year? Making even a small investment into the health and wellbeing of your staff can have a substantial impact by not only reducing sickness absence, but also by boosting productivity and positivity in the office.

It makes perfect sense that happy, healthy staff are less likely to take time off sick or ultimately less likely to look for another job – so why not do something positive for your employees today to make them feel valued? To start with, you could look at something as simple as arranging a fruit delivery. A piece of fruit can give a mid-morning energy boost and spark positive discussions in and out of the office.

Employee benefit company Benefex have recently started receiving weekly Fruitdrop boxes and announce each delivery with an entertaining internal email. The staff at their Southampton office were rather shocked to learn that banana pasta was once a popular dish in Italy, but hey, they never said that all the facts were true…

That’s just for starters though – (or elevenses) – another great way to encourage employees to look after their health and wellbeing is through a flexible benefits scheme. A scheme (like the ones implemented by Benefex) can include as many benefits as you require, covering everything from dental insurance to relaxing spa days.

One of the most popular employee benefits out there, which has a great record of improving general health and wellbeing, is the ‘Cycle to Work’ initiative. With a high take up amongst keen cyclists and a fantastic way to get budding health enthusiasts on a bike, Cycle to Work schemes have a hugely positive impact on sickness rates and alertness in the office.

Of course, wellbeing is about more than just physical health and it doesn’t have to be costly. There are plenty of little things you can do to give staff morale a boost, such as a well-equipped kitchen to prepare lunch andhaving milk on hand for not only tea and coffee during the day, but to have with morning cereal too.

Another great idea is to get staff involved in organising events or themed office days. You could set up a Social Committee and use a suggestion box to monitor feedback. Above all, always remember that communication is key – no one will know what a great employer you are unless you tell them!

The Top Transferable Skills Every Manager Should Have

Every sector or profession comes with its own set of demands but when it comes to management there are certain skills and character traits that are always transferable.

Whether you look at a successful leader in manufacturing or in a service industry, you will see that they share very similar skills. Here are just a few of those:


If you want people to go that extra mile then you have to be prepared to show them how it is done. The best managers and leaders are those who set an example by working the hardest and making the most effort. Managers who are complacent will either attract like-minded individuals or create a sense of resentment from their staff.


Good communication removes any doubt or misunderstanding from the workplace. That means making it absolutely clear to your staff what is expected from them. Steer clear of unnecessary jargon and double check that when you have briefed someone they have properly understood everything. However, the art of good communication is also about explaining the vision and values of a company. Every single employee should grasp exactly what the company stands for, and as a manager it is your responsibility.


The soft skills of management should never be underestimated. If you want to get the very best from people you have to be able to understand exactly what it is that makes them tick. We are all complex and complicated individuals and are motivated in many different ways. Some are driven by financial incentives whereas others are focused on constantly developing their skill set. Some people need constant encouragement but others are more individualistic. The very best managers are the ones who are psychologically tuned in to all of their staff. Get that right and half the battle is already won.


This is important at all times, but particularly in tough situations. Managing is not something that can be done half-heartedly and every decision should be taken with real purpose and decisiveness. Employees can very easily spot when somebody is not in control, so it is important you are never unsure of yourself. Whatever the situation; remain calm, gather all the necessary information, and make your decision with conviction.

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